Pintails are Joe Pope's favorite duck. In fact, he was once nicknamed "Pintail Pope" by his hunting partners. While duck hunting last season in South Carolina at a place he calls Hay Hill, he was accompanied by Pearl, a four-year-old yellow Lab that belongs to one of his good friends. He and a hunting partner had already taken a nice mixed bag of wigeon and gadwalls when a pair of pintails suddenly cruised into the decoys.
"My friend shot the drake and I grabbed my camera as Pearl went racing out to get the duck. I knew the light and angle were going to be just right for a good picture. She made a great retrieve pounding through the water. She isn't big enough to clear a coffee table with her tail, but she has the motor to get after it. She is really coming into her own," Pope says.
Retrievers Runner-Up: Justin Tangeman
To view an extensive collection of honorable mentions in our photo contest, go to the DU website at www.ducks.org/photocontest